The Search for Keto Bread

When I first did Keto I struggled for portable packed lunch ideas to have ready to take out. I’d always had a sandwich for lunch and I’m not a salad fan even now.

A Pre Keto Typical Lunch

To start with I bought Joseph’s Lavash wraps through Mark at Keto fitness club. These aren’t clean Keto due to the ingredients but they are a lot lower carb than regular bread. They were a life saver in preventing me from making bad choices with fast food when I was out and about. Following a keto lifestyle for me is not being 100% on it all of the time, but making the best decisions I can while eating foods that remain convenient. I still have a few cheats but it hasn’t stopped me achieving the results I was looking for.

A Lavash Sandwich

After my break from Keto when I cambered back on the wagon the Keto Fitness Club had new recipes including some pretty good bread alternatives using almond flour and linseed. I tried the almond butter bread and the tahini bread but they really weren’t to my taste. The 90 second bread and 2 minute breads were OK but still not quite right for me.

90 Second Bread

When Michele Cooper joined Keto Fitness Club she was on a mission to find a bread recipe her husband would accept, and from her experimentation Megga Loaf was born.

This bread started of as my nemesis. Again it is not strict Keto as it uses vital wheat gluten so isn’t gluten free, but I couldn’t get my loaf to be anything other than a bit of a brick as I couldn’t mix and prove it well enough to get the ait in. I didn’t know if it was my yeast or my method.

Early Bread Experiments

My husband then surprised me with a kenwood chef mixer with a dough hook but my bread still wouldn’t rise and get airy. I always ate my failures as I hate waste but I was getting frustrated.

I then remembered my Mum still had my Dad’s old breadmaker in the back of a cupboard. He loved making bread but since we lost him to cancer it just wasn’t mum’s thing. So I borrowed the breadmaker and tried my loaf in there. My breadmaker had instructions for a normal loaf which was all the wet ingredients, then all the dry ingredients, and then put the yeast in a well on top so I tried that method.

Light and airy.

Well finally I had the most wonderful loaf, light, airy, and delicious. I think if I had tried this loaf earlier in my Keto journey I would have struggled with the taste in comparison to my old white loaf habit. But getting this bread after more than a year of no toast was just heaven.

Every successful loaf is celebrated

I did this video about making this bread and uploaded it to YouTube as how to do the Megga Loaf recipe in a breadmaker is a very common question asked on the Keto Fitness Club support group regularly.

So if you want to try this recipe too then go and look up the Megga Loaf in the Keto Fitness Club free recipe library here under the breads section https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly and please let me know how you get on.

And if you struggle to get the ingredients such as the Vital Wheat Gluten and Oat Fibre needed I get mine from Whole Foods Online, but now Keto Fitness Club sells the loaves, rolls and pizza bases through a partnership with a local bakery in Northamptonshire, and also packs made up of the dry ingredients if you want to try your own without buying loads of ingredients.

I now make bread about once a fortnight as I don’t eat it every day, especially as lockdown means I don’t need packed lunches right now. There are also fab new recipes using the megga loaf as a base like pizza bases and cinnamon swirls. Each loaf I make reminds me of my Dad and how he loved making his own bread. I just wish he was still around to share my new love of food with me.

Family flashback.
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Keto Success Story

I have always had a totally unhealthy relationship with food. I was so ill as a child I got away with being really fussy, I was the girl who had gravy pie as I didn’t like the meat, I didn’t eat any vegetables, and my favourite food was sausages.

And when I grew up I didn’t get much better. I don’t think I even tried a pizza until my best friend at University made me try one and I couldn’t stand salad. I ate a small range of foods and the only vegetable I touched was peas.

When I was married and became a Mum I put quite a lot of weight on with each child and moved from being 10 to 11 stone to, after two children, over 14 stone. Also my arthritis flared up regularly and in my mid 30s I had a hip replacement as I couldn’t keep up with my 2 kids. I did improve a little as I didn’t want my children to have the same issues with food I did and I hid vegetables from myself in the Shepherds Pie!

Feb 2007 after my hip replacement

When I discovered Forever Living and Aloe Vera Gel my health started to improve. I was also diagnosed with Sleep Apnoea and the Cpap machine helped too, and finally I started to lose weight and my tastes began to change. I had great success with the Clean 9 and used the Forever Living shakes to help me make healthier choices.

Except if I stopped calorie counting and ate ‘normal food’ the weight would pile on. If I calorie counted, was really careful, and exercised I lost weight but I felt like I was denying myself. I would keep getting stalls on weight loss even though my diet had improved and if I even looked at a biscuit I would put weight on. I was able to get a lot fitter and exercise more and my shape improved but I just felt stuck and miserable a lot of the time.

Then 3 years ago through business networking I met Mark Brereton from Keto fitness club and tried some of his low carb and no sugar recipe alternatives, and heard about a different way of eating. Avoiding beige carbs (bread, rice and pasta , and potatoes) cooking without sugar but using plant based natural sweetener alternatives to bake too.

In 7 months I lost a stone and was doing really well and really enjoying the new recipes. I even started to quite like cauliflower mash. Fathead dough was the most delicious pizza base and I made pancakes and Berry bakes with cream cheese and almond flour and loved them all.

Then I went on the holiday of a lifetime to New York with my husband, and had a real carb fest, and when I returned home I just couldn’t get back on the keto wagon. Every single week I meant to go back to my Keto habits, and apart from still cooking some of my recipes I didn’t cut the carbs and sugar and I really piled on the lbs and nearly snuck back to my original 14 stone weight. Something had to change.

New York

So almost 2 years ago I took the decisions to return to the Keto way of eating, but this time my mindset was different. It wasn’t a diet in order to get to a weight goal, it was a new way of eating with the focus on picking foods which wouldn’t trigger inflammation (my arthritis could return at any time).

Keto Fitness Club with Mark was also developing as a business and there were cooking classes, new recipes to try including a bread recipe which was new since my first Keto foray, and lots of support on the mindset and practical help with the recipes.

Megga Loaf Breaf

A year later lockdown came along and it could go one of two ways, and at first I was at risk of going the wrong way and putting weight on. But staying home and not going out meant I could take control and the Keto Fitness Club started regular online cooking classes, zoom coffee mornings, mindset chats and support. We shared favourite recipes, kitchen gadgets (we all love Ninja Foodie) and other kitchen accessories to make cooking easier.

In December 2020 I had a milestone birthday, I hit 50. The week of my birthday I hit my target weight of 11 stone and the bigger target of finally after almost 30 years of being together I weighed less than my husband. I had always weighed a significant amount more than him, always. And now we are the same weight. That was a HUGE milestone.

Happy 50th to me

But the best thing is I eat delicious food every day. I don’t feel like I am denying myself anything. I have cake and pizza and meat and cream and cheese. The only downside is that I have to cook everything myself from scratch. It’s fine most of the time but every now and again it would be nice to find a keto convenience food. But that’s changing gradually as more people come to understand the Keto way.

I have to admit I am a little concerned about keeping to keto once the world opens up and I can go out and eat socially again. But there is no way I am compromising my new way of eating. Eating sugar laden foods is no longer a treat so my ploy will be to take my own breads or treats when eating out and just being a bit more organised while waiting for the world to catch on that sugar is the enemy and not fat.

Arrowroot Yorkshire Puddings

If you would like the help and support of Keto Fitness Club then you can get access to their recipes for free here https://www.ketofitnessclub.com/pages/free-recipe-library/?ref=AloeAly. There is a public Facebook group you can join for free, linked to from the web link. Also if you are new to Keto the Kick-start session is a great way to learn all about what you need and will help you understand where to start. From there then there is a members group with fabulous cooking classes and fitness classes and lots more support. Getting involved with Keto Fitness Club has made my journey 100% easier and I know I would have got stuck in a rut with foods and got bored without it.

So if regular diets aren’t working for you, or you always put on the weight or get stuck on calorie restricted diets then why not try something different. You might just find you get unexpected results.

Jan 2018 to Feb 2021
Chocolate Caramels

Walk1000Miles Update

If you have joined me in walking more in 2021 then how is it going? Are you keeping up or are you waiting for the summer months to really get going?

I had a storming start in January on the #walk1000miles challenge and walked just over 100 miles to get ahead of myself – and it is a good job I did as in mid February I bent down to pick up my pilates mat after my class and something in my back went ping. Who says exercise isn’t dangerous?

I was lucky that my osteopath was able to set me on the right track for recovery, and I was strictly told not to walk longer than 20 mins once the original spasms had faded, so I was glad to have a few extra miles ahead of the game. I just had to move regularly and go for more shorter walks and I managed to just keep on track in February. My Aloe Heat Lotion and MSM Gel were absolutely invaluable too and I applied them regularly to my lower back.

Now in March my back is still a little stiff, but I am back walking longer distances and really enjoying the great outdoors – and today, 10th March, I hit the 200 miles in 2021 mark. I am nearing Plymouth according to the My Virtual Mission #walk1000miles map tracking my #1000miles from Lands End to John O’Groats.

What I am really pleased about is back allowing I have been getting out rain or shine, mud or mist, and enjoying the local countryside and trying out new footpaths and seeing some great scenery all within walking distance of my front door, and walking with all the family too.

Here are a few of my favourite pics and the sights we have seen in my first 200 miles in 2021. Please share your stories and progress in the comments here and also join my Facebook support group if you are doing a walking challenge too this year.

Walking 1000 Miles in 2021

How are you keeping motivated during this #lockdown3 to keep moving and keep healthy? Back in 2012 when was 5 years post op from my hip replacement I started in January using Endomondo and doing a walk 100 miles in January challenge with my best mate.

We got quite competitive with it, and once January was done decided to do the same in February. At the time I was a school run mum and we didn’t even have a dog so I used to walk with my bestie, short ones during the week mostly and longer on the lovely 6 mile walk round our local forest at the weekends. But it still wasn’t quite enough so I used to get to outside my kid’s school for the school run early and then just walk round in circles on the streets around the school any opportunity I got. There was no getting away with it – and doing the challenge definitely helped me move more.

We actually kept the challenge going every month that year, and ended up realising on New Years Eve we were 6 miles off having walked 1300 miles in one year, so off we went and hit the target. I felt though that walking was very time consuming, and I was losing weight and getting fitter and I wanted to do other things with my time, so I parked the excessive walking, and in 2015 when we got Daisy Dog, our Jack Russell Cross, we walked more again but just not quite as much as previously.

Daisy in 2015

So when in my Keto Fitness Club chat they were talking about the #walk1000mile challenge I was reluctant to join in. I was feeling like I didn’t have the time, the head space or the energy. And my best mate now has two primary school aged kids which make it difficult to for the longer walks, and she likes to run, which I tried but gave up as I don’t want my hip replacement to wear out too quick.

But then news of the latest lockdown came out again, and walking is something you can do right through the winter if you pick your moment or just wear the right gear, and the dog needs to go out every day anyway, and I can walk on shorter walks with my best mate and her new puppy but still do additional walks myself to get the miles in, so I thought why not join in.

Walking with the Puppy !

So the long and the short of it is I am doing the #1000miles challenge – and I have set up a facebook group for others joining in too, so if you fancy motivating yourself to get out and move more then do come and join us.

I have found now in the first 13 days of January I have already walked 45 miles ‘boots on ‘ (I am even learning the lingo – this means I am only counting outdoor walking and not converting my fitbit steps to miles – although either method is perfectly acceptable) and joining the challenge and being able to walk with others being the only way we are permitted to actually see and speak to anyone right now is definitely helping me stay off the sofa more and get outdoors more – even if my dog has now sometimes decided to not come with me !

If you have chosen to do a walking challenge too then let me know in the comment below and let’s support each other !

Learning new Skills

Although personally up until now (is it week 5 or week 6 ??  who knows) in my lockdown I have been quite busy with my ‘day’ job, helping people understand the furlough grants and supporting my clients with their bookkeeping, I know there are many who are finding the time to learn new skills or try new hobbies.

So what have you tried out since lockdown?  What have you learned?  Can you share resources in the comments here that others might find interesting or useful?  If you fancy writing a blog post about something you have enjoyed, found useful or want to share then do get in touch as I’m always happy to feature guest bloggers here if I feel my audience would appreciate the information.

So what have I learned that’s new?

I have been following a Keto (low carb low sugar) lifestyle for over a year now and my health is so much better for it.  So even though I have been busy working I’ve been cooking from scratch from home every day, and so I don’t get bored and tempted to dive on my old favourites of highly processed sugary foods I have been trying different recipes.

The reason I have been able to stick to this way of eating for so long, and not drifted back to bad habits sooner, is that I have fallen in love with this food, and I have the support of my friends at the Keto Fitness Club, run by Mark Brereton and his family, who keep me engaged, amused and motivated in equal measure.

This week I mastered the Megga Bread recipe, which you can get from the free recipe library on the Keto Fitness Club link I have posted – I am so happy to have a decent slice of low carb bread to eat now that I am going to be using this one a lot.  Initially, I was short of yeast but I managed to get a delivery from BuyWHoleFoodsOnline.co.uk , and they supply the vital wheat gluten you need too – and I have plenty of the Oat Fibre but this can be replaced by ground Chia seeds which are more commonly available in supermarkets if needed.

Here is a little montage with a few of my favourite recipes like the Toad in the Hole, , Chicken Pizza, Haloumi Fries, Scotch Egg, Berry Bake, Megga Bread, Cauliflower and Broccoli Bake and my absolute favourite crumble and custard! IMG_20200422_110354-COLLAGE

If you want to try some of these recipes then you can download them for free at their free online recipe library, then if you like them as much as I do you can then support Mark and his family by buying their recipe books also available on the site.

And the other bonus is some of the recipes use protein shakes in them to up the protein levels of the recipes, and I can use my Forever Lite Ultra Vanilla or Chocolate shakes in those recipes too.  Double Bonus!

Aloe Aly x

 

How is your mood?

We are now 4 weeks into this lockdown and how is your mood?

It all started as a bit of a novelty 4 weeks ago, and with the review in 3 weeks some thought we might only be shut in for a short while – but now the news seems to say we could be locked down a lot longer than we originally thought.  Nobody really knows and the uncertainty can definitely play a part in damaging your mental health.

How are you keeping positive in these uncertain times?

I am following a few simple tips in order to keep my sanity :

  • Keep a regular routine – I am getting up and go to bed at the same time every night and keep regular meal times. Also, there’s a Virtual Pub Quiz I do weekly and exercise classes which all help me keep an element of normality and regularity in my life.
  • Keep in touch with people – I’m having regular chats with family, clients, and also people I am meeting on networking meetings.  Just to keep connected and avoid that feeling of isolation.
  • Have a divide between work and leisure – with working from home it’s really easy to just keep working into the evening, so we are dividing our working day from our relaxing evenings with a dog walk that divides the day and means I leave my desk at a sensible time.
  • Be Patient if isolating with others –  you are probably spending a lot more time with your close family than you normally would, and if you are not sleeping well due to the worry you may find tempers can flare more than usual. Stop, breathe and think before raising voices and walk away for some space if you really feel you are going to snap.
  • Be Kind – I am seeing lots of arguments on social media as the regulations we have been told are being read in different ways by different people.  Sometimes rather than posting something negative it’s better to just walk away and leave it as no-one has ever had their mind changed by a negative post on social media in my experience.
  • Remember those isolating alone – if you haven’t heard from a friend or neighbour for a while- drop them a message to see how they are.  I bet they will really appreciate it.
  • Exercise – I am going out every day as I said to take my dog Daisy for a walk – but I’m also still doing my pilates class online once a week.  there are loads of people online helping with exercise ideas – find the one that most appeals to you and do it regularly.

I love this graphic I saw on a friend’s Facebook post this week – it covers my points above plus more.

Coronavirus poster

If you feel you need more support then my friend Duncan Price from Mind Affinity has produced a coronavirus survival guide which you can download from the Mind Affinity Website for free.

If you feel you need to connect with someone during this lockdown period then please reach out and get in touch with me, even if it’s just for a chat,

Aloe Aly x

Week 3 – is anyone buying?

Right now we are just entering the 3rd week in the UK of our social isolation and distancing, for those who can work from home.  There are many people who have lost their income totally, and many others who may be on Furlough or shielding themselves or family members, or looking after the children, so they can’t go to work.

In my other business, my ‘day’ job with Silicon Bullet Ltd, I train bookkeepers and I have been super busy as everyone struggles to work out what they are entitled to from the daily government announcements, writing blog posts with practical tips on processing payroll and how to manage the grants and allowances when you claim them.  But for many people, it’s still a waiting game to know what they will be entitled to, if anything, and when they might get it.Aly Zoom Background

Remember though that in a couple of weeks time there will be people who are earning their 80% pay but they have greatly reduced their outgoings.  No daily commute to pay for, no take out coffees, no meals out or trips to the pub.  Also, the novelty of staying home will be wearing off and boredom will be setting in.  I know my daughter, at 20 , is starting to look at online shopping sites so when she gets her furlough wages from her part-time pub job she can buy a nice outfit for when she can go and see her friends again.

So don’t think that there is no-one around to buy your Forever Living products, or your home crafted items, or whatever it is that you sell.  Now is the time to use your enforced lockdown to be your most creative, learn how to use TikTok, learn what to post on Instagram and how to connect with people on LinkedIn, learn how to promote your business and build your connections with online networking on zoom. Whatever tasks you have been putting off because you never had time, now is the time to get on with them.

Weds bob 2 Hats day

Do your ‘homework’ now so you can grow your business, whatever it is, in the future when you are once again free to go out and socialise. Personally, I am also advocating the self-employed getting your tax return done and submitted now while you have admin and downtime, so when you are free to get out again you know a) how much tax you are needing to save up and b) you can concentrate on income-producing activities when you have more freedom.

So that’s one of the reasons I have returned to blogging here when I’ve not had time to love the last year, and I’m talking about how the wonderful Forever products are so kind to the skin when you need to wash your hands so often.  What ‘homework’ can you do ?

Aloe Aly

 

Elliptical Bike – ElliptoGo

I am always looking for new and interesting ways to stay fit and keep my motivation up.  Since my right total hip replacement in February 2007 at the age of 36 my health and fitness have improved immeasurably.  I went from needing crutches if I was going to be on my feet for any extended length of time to walking 100 miles a month in 2012, you can read my story on previous posts.

The problem with walking is it can get a bit boring!  Even in the lovely local forest here by where I live, and in order to keep moving and keep my motivation up I’m always keen to look for new things to do.  I did do 2 triathlons in 2013, but running is not great for a person with a hip replacement, it could shorten the lifespan of my titanium and ceramic hip, and I definitely don’t want to do that.

I do also love riding my bike, but I find the seating position leaning towards the handle bars can cause problems with my neck, and my hands and wrists ache if I’m on my bike for any longer than half an hour.

So when I was on a hip replacement support forum on facebook and saw an elliptical bike mentioned I was intrigued to find out if this might be a suitable alternative to a traditional bicycle, as it was mentioned as something great for people with joint replacements or who couldn’t run due to injury, as there is no impact, and you are in a more upright position which would be better for my neck.

So I looked up elliptical bikes and found the ElliptiGO website, and arranged a test drive locally here in Milton Keynes.  When you first see the bike and go on it, especially in a limited space where you need to keep cornering, it certainly is an odd experience, and I wasn’t sure I was going to take to it, so we thought long and hard before making our mind up.

Choosing my model

After a 2nd test drive in April to compare the new ElliptiGO ARC with the ElliptiGO 8C, we decided that my knees and hips would be most comfortable with the 8C, we finally placed our order, and I took delivery on Friday 6th May.  It all looked rather large and a little bit scary – you can tell by the look on my face!

Elliptigo (3)

Progress

I am writing this blog 2 weeks on, and after initially being worried about feeling slight discomfort in my shoulder whilst on the bike, I think that may have been me clinging onto the handlebars for dear life, and now I am getting more confident my grip is relaxing and I’m feeling less tension through my arms.

I went on a few short half hour rides to start with, coasting for a breather on the downhills and using the 8 gears to great effect on the uphill stretches.   This weekend I took a longer trip out, choosing a route with several options to turn for home if I felt the need, but I was very pleased to manager to stay out for over an hour and cover over 12 miles (20km) in total with no lingering aches and pains in my arthritic joints.  As a comparison on my mountain bike I can’t go out any longer than an hour without getting problems in my wrists and hands.

The point of getting the bike is so I can get out and about in our beautiful Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire countryside without aggravating my joints, and early indications are that the Elliptigo 8C is doing just that.  I’m also having fun linking with other riders through Strava and I’m quite chuffed to say I seem to be keeping up with the other riders quite well.  I was even faster on my Elliptigo on an uphill stretch today that I used to be on my traditional bike.

First Ride

Here is a short video of my first ride.  Thanks to Idai Makaya for the test drives and support in choosing my new toy!

 

Keeping Moving – Testing a Fitbit

So I have to admit, since my post about the Blacklight Run I have become a lapsed exerciser again.  Not totally, I still love my high energy classes with Red Squirrels Zumba twice a week, and go to a local Pilates class with Nikki from Move Better Fitness which I love, but the running has ground to a halt.

I think this is because I am not entirely happy when I am running. I don’t enjoy it but I also worry as I run.  The main reason being my total right hip replacement, which was carried out when I was 36 in 2007.  In the back of my mind I know my hip has a limited lifespan, and running just feels like too high impact.  Basically I don’t want to wear out my lovely titanium and ceramic hip.

My day job is very sedentary.  I basically sit in front of a computer all day either bookkeeping, training or promoting my business.  I need some kind of motivation to keep moving between my fitness classes.

Fitbit Review

So I am trialling a Fitbit Flex which a friend of mine is wanting to sell.  I’m going to see if this piece of tech is the kick up the backside I need to get moving again, and watch my food intake more closely. I am a user of Endomondo and My Fitness Pal, and with both these apps they were very motivational when I first started to use them.  I walked a huge 1300 miles in 2012 by following the 100 miles a month challenge on Endomondo, a fact I am very proud of. But the novelty has warn off and I need something new.

Setting up the Fitbit Flex

Once I realised the app wouldn’t work with my Nexus 10 tablet, it was really quick and easy to set up my Fitbit on my Nexus 4.  I was able to set up my profile with ease and the first thing I did was log my first nights sleep.

You do have to remember via the app to say when you are going to sleep and when you wake up, then the fitbit tracks your restlessness and gives you a great graph to see how well you slept.  Not enough is the answer at the moment!

Linking Fitbit to MyFitness Pal and Endomondo

How the apps fitted together got me scratching my head at first, but with trial end error I soon sorted it out. I had to log into my individual accounts for My Fitness Pal and Endomondo on my PC in order to set up the new link to the Fitbit.

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

In Settings -> Connect you can link Endomondo to your Fitbit

Historically I logged my exercise on Endomondo which then fed into My Fitness Pal to ‘buy’ me extra calories   I have now had to switch off this link as Endomondo feeds into the Fitbit app with my exercise, then the Fitbit app feeds this information into My Fitness Pal in the form of a Fitbit Calories Adjustment.  If Endomondo also feeds the exercise into My Fitness Pal then the exercise is double counted.  It makes your stats look great but won’t help much with my weight loss target!  The exercise from Endomondo in My Fitness Pal was also fed back into the Fitbit double counting there too – are you still with me?

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

Fitbit Calorie Adjustment in My Fitness Pal

I do however love the fact that I can still log my food in My Fitness Pal and this then gets automatically fed into the Fitbit App in the form of a calorie value per meal.  I’ve used My Fitness Pal for years now and I have a database of favourite meals already set up, I am a creature of habit, so I dreaded having to recreate all this in the Fitbit app.  Now I don’t have to.

Early Signs

So early signs that having this new Fitbit will hep me get back on track with being more active are good, as I am itching to get out and increase my step count (currently at 4000 steps at 2pm in the afternoon) , I’ve drunk more water today, and I’m not snacking as I’m back to logging all my food.

Let’s see how long this new inspiration lasts.

Outside influences: the women in my family by Sandy Millin

This is a fabulous post from my Niece, Sandy Millin, about the influences the women in our family (including me as her Aunt) have had on her growth and development.

Sandy is passionate about languages and is an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. She is very well respected in her field.  Sandy has worked for International House in a number of different countries and is a member of IATEFL and presents at their conferences.  I would strongly recommend following Sandy on Twitter if you have an interest in language teaching. (@sandymillin)

I am very proud of my Neice – she is a strong independent and caring lady and I am so happy I have been able to be a positive influence on her life.  To read more click on this link to her post……..

Outside influences: the women in my family.